Advance Course, Art of Living, Ashram, Bangalore, Boone, Guruji, Happiness Program, Lionking, Meditation, Michael Fischman, Rafiki, Sri Sri Ravishankar, YES!+, Yoga
Pulling me out of a bubble of negative energy, He asked me if I would like to come home again.
In the past eighteen days, I have been to two cities, met hundreds of people, made plenty of new friends, learned what’s smiling again and most importantly, realized the fact that the connection which once was, will always be.
When I was a student, I had promised myself that once I start earning and can afford to do an Art of Living Advance/Silence course, I would go ahead and do it. Well, by April 2015, I had been earning for almost an year and two months, but for some reason, I had kept on postponing myself in taking the program. Either I felt that it wasn’t time then or I was trying to save money, or maybe I had accepted straight up that I only have to be good at my job and not brilliantly rounded. Irrespective of the reason, I was a dumbass.
…and then, something magical happened: I got my tax refund!
It was one of those times, when you think, “Okay, what do I want to do the most with this money?” In Robin Van Persie’s words, the little boy inside of me said, “Get your backside to an Art of Living Silence course.” However, there were still doubts in my mind when I realized how much the travel and course would cost, so, I told my mind to ‘shut up and go to bed’ as I started looking through the list of courses all around the United States. I soon came across a magical name, Michael Fischman. Michael, the famous author, was teaching a course in Boston and having heard so much about him, there was no way I could have not registered for the program.
Knowing how fragile my mind is, I booked my flight tickets in no time as I told myself, “Flights are non-refundable, boy! You can’t get out of this now!” It felt like I had won over my mind, at least for that moment. Soon, I registered for the silence program with Michael and left for Boston a couple of weeks on.
My silence was incredible. It was my sixth Art of Silence course but the first one in which I cried during silence. There were too many realizations, too many lessons, too much knowledge and a massive amount of gratitude for everything that I had received. It was the first time that I saw my mind getting cleansed, little by little. It was like watching the negative impressions that were stuck on my mind getting removed and being winded away. It was fantastic.
|("It Is Time" - Rafiki)|
A couple of weeks on, Guruji, Sri Sri Ravishankar-ji, was coming to Boone, NC and a friend of mine, whom I had met the evening before we played the Hurricanes in Miami in Novemeber, asked me if I would like to drive with her up the mountains from Florida. I paused for a second and then replied, “Duh!” I mean, I could have said all the duhs and dahs, and acted like it wasn’t a big deal but in truth, I couldn’t believe that I was actually going to meet Him. It was like magic. I mean, after the advance course, I felt like He had said, “It is time!” and then, I was going to see Him. It was miraculous.
She picked me up from Jacksonville and we were off to Boone doing satsang on the way. At times, that satsang even had Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias and Backstreet Boys making special appearances! To all the girls reading this, I am still straight…just saying! We shared so many Guru Stories that even her car would have felt grateful.
Few hours on and here we were - on top of the mountains - at the Art of Living Retreat Center. As we were entering the Boone Ashram, I yelled out, “I am home!”
It was phenomenal. I just couldn’t stop smiling. Actually, I realized that it wasn’t only me; everybody was smiling. For some reason, everyone was just so happy. It wasn’t Bangalore but it was divine. Guruji was leading a knowledge series, and I and her waited for him to get done and come out of the meditation hall. When I saw Him, I just couldn’t believe my eyes. He was in front of me but I didn’t lose my sense. An Art of Living teacher from Mumbai had once told me that His rate of motion is directly proportional to your excitement, so, I was to be as calm as possible.
I started walking behind him and on the way to his kutir when he turned around and said, “Hi” to me, waving his hand. I smiled as wide as I possibly could. I mean he had never said ‘hi’ to me in such a fashion. It was awesome. From then on in, we followed him around wherever he went and I asked/told him one of the things that I wanted to tell him, partially.
|Popping In From The Right Corner|
The next day, it so happened that I had received permissions to go inside his kutir but by the time my turn came to speak to Him, He had to go and lead the knowledge series. As He was passing me by, He waited for a split second, smiled at me, patted my on my right bicep and then, left. So for the other thing, I knew He had blessed me even if neither of us said anything verbally.
Later that day, Saturday, the satsang in the Ashram was incredible. I have never smoked but if that wasn’t a high, I don’t know what is. Guruji’s talk was amazing. I had never heard Him speak the way He spoke. It was superb. The energy inside the meditation hall in the Ashram was immense. An hour on, it was breathtaking coming to terms with what I had experienced.
(Ashram, a place filled with positive energy)
|The Saturday Satsang|
The more I look back at the trip, the more I realize God’s grace. I mean meeting my friend in Miami was a miracle. You know, I was so happy to meet a fellow Art of Living volunteer that we actually did a satsang on the South Beach. I planning two trips within two weeks of one-another was a miracle. Meeting Guruji from so close was a miracle. Making so many friends on my trip was a miracle. Getting a ride back with the volunteers from West Palm was a miracle. Having an ‘Ashram love’ story like one I have every single time was a miracle. Missing my bus, but still getting back to Tallahassee by Sunday night was a miracle. I coming ‘home’ is a miracle.
During silence in Boston, it was like He had asked me if I would like to come back home and I replied, “Yes, Guruji.” 18 days on, now, I am truly home.
I don’t believe in miracles…I rely on them.
Jai Gurudev :)